I read a post recently on a website about how a mom decided she was not going to raise her child with religion. While I don’t share that view, I agree that there are values you can teach kids that aren’t exclusive to religion such as love, patience, kindness, humility and gratitude.
I focus on gratitude today because last year was not the best for me. There were many obstacles which I kept telling myself would only lead to better things but that kept evolving into other disasters. I had to really zone in on the important stuff in life in order to stay sane. Sometimes this meant turning off my phone for a week or not watching certain TV shows or spending more time with my dogs. I prayed a lot as well, because God is always my protector and I don’t blame him for the bad things. Yet, I realized I don’t do enough to thank Him for the good things either.
Despite the hardships, I am blessed with a beautiful son that loves nature and is carefree. A husband that tries his best to make me happy. A job that pays well enough for our son to not have to go to daycare. My health and my home. But the list doesn’t stop there and I don’t think I could ever list all my blessings because some of them I don’t even know about!
There are things God does for me everyday that I never see or hear. He might be moving mountains but I’ll never know that he saved me from them. He could be diverting a challenge but I’ll never know that he made it so I didn’t have to face it. He has a plan but I don’t have that map so I have to trust in Him and be more grateful that for all the little things I see go wrong in my life, there are thousands more blessings He has in the works or in the background where I don’t pay attention.
So for the past few months I have intentionally carved out time in my mornings (and sometimes night) to read the Bible, sing a song of praise on my way to work, and/or pray. I know He listens. It’s me that has to get better at listening to Him, at being still and having faith that I lead a good life despite the fact that it’s not perfect, and He is to thank. He deserves the credit when I do well on a job interview or when I succeed in a personal goal. And I have to show more thankfulness.
I certainly don’t appreciate when I do a lot for people and get nothing in return, not even acknowledgement that my efforts made a difference in some way. Don’t you hate when that happens at work or even with family?
The days when I practice the most gratitude, my mood is elevated, my spirits feel healthy, and my connection to those around me is that much stronger, because I’m able to appreciate their worth as well.
Though life will always be busy and it’s difficult to sit down and say hey, I’m really glad about this stuff in my life, I urge you to do it. Even if you don’t believe in God, I’m sure there’s someone in your life that would appreciate the gesture of gratitude. And if nothing else, you will be setting a great example for those around you.